LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Eight Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) bus drivers have quit since the first day of the new school year, according to district officials.
Many students experienced unprecedented delays on Aug. 9 and the district had to cancel classes for six days as officials quickly worked to find short-term solutions to the transportation issues.
Since then, drivers have raised concerns about student safety and impossible routes that crisscrossed Jefferson County, according to John Stovall, union president for Teamsters local 783, which represents almost all bus drivers in JCPS.
District officials previously doubled down saying no drivers had resigned since the first day of school, however, on Friday, JCPS spokesperson Mark Hebert confirmed several drivers had resigned since Aug. 9.
Josh Haeberlin is a former bus driver who told WHAS11 his last day was on Aug. 17.
Haeberlin sent a copy of his formal letter of resignation, dated Aug. 14, and also a response from the district acknowledging his resignation on Aug. 15.
He previously told WHAS11 this year's new bus routes caused him a lot of stress, adding "safety has not been a high enough priority."
"There's a lot of kids crossing four-lane streets. They even had us crossing five-lane roads going straight across and there's no way to safely cross that in a school bus," he said.
A letter acknowledging his resignation was emailed to JCPS Human Resources for processing by Transportation Director Marcus Dobbs. The letter reads: "Please accept the attached written resignation from Josh Haeberlin, bus driver...whose last working day will be August 17, 2023."
"The environment within Transportation has become increasingly toxic. We have been told time and time again we can be replaced," Haeberlin said. "I hope that my Voice helps the drivers that have lost theirs and I hope it sparks real change."
Another JCPS bus driver, Mike Trauth, provided WHAS11 with documents showing he submitted his letter of resignation earlier this week on Aug. 22. The district sent Trauth an email that same day accepting his resignation.
District officials did not dispute any of the documents, but Hebert said the district was unaware of these resignations due to a lag in HR's processing time.
"It takes time for employee status changes to be processed and show up in our system. We were unaware that Mr. Haeberlin, or any other bus driver, had submitted a resignation letter at the time the question arose," he said over email Friday. "It generally takes a few weeks from the time an employee submits their resignation for JCPS to formally document it in its HR system."
Haeberlin is still listed as a JCPS employee in the district's records system, according to Hebert.
Hebert said 11 drivers have resigned this year in total, but three resigned over the summer and filed their resignation paperwork this month.
Only one driver has been fully processed through the district's HR system and is "no longer officially on the books as a JCPS employee," he added.